Aging, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Supplements / 01.03.2023 Interview with: Christopher R. Martens PhD Assistant Professor Director, Delaware Center for Cognitive Aging Research Department of Kinesiology & Applied Physiology University of Delaware Newark, DE What is the background for this study? Response: One of the main issues with Alzheimer's disease is an impaired ability to make energy in the brain. NAD+ is critically involved in the creation of energy within cells and there is strong evidence that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a precursor to NAD+, can restore brain function in mice that exhibit similar characteristics as people with Alzheimer's disease. We had previously studied the effects of NR in healthy older adults and wanted to see whether it is even capable of getting into brain tissue. We used remaining blood samples from our original study and measured the amount of NAD+ within tiny "vesicles" in the blood that we are quite confident originated from the brain and other neural tissue (more…)
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss / 12.02.2019 Interview with: Keith Schneider PhD Director, Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Delaware What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Absolute pitch is the ability to name a musical note in isolation.  It is rare in the population, approximately 1/10,000 people have it.  The neural mechanisms of this ability have not been clear.  It is not known whether people with absolute pitch encode auditory frequencies differently, or whether absolute pitch derives from the same sensory encoding but different memory connections. We tested 20 people with absolute pitch, 20 matched musicians with the same number of years of musical training, age of onset of musical training, and number of hours of practice per week, as well as 20 controls with minimal musical training. The main findings are that people with absolute pitch have larger early auditory cortex—primary auditory cortex was enlarged about 50% relative to the other two groups, which did not differ significantly from each other.  We also found that the tuning bandwidth of the individual voxels in the early auditory cortical areas was broader in people with absolute pitch. That is, these small bits of the brain responded to a wide range of frequencies than those in the other two groups.  This suggested to us that people with absolute pitch might imply what is known as “ensemble encoding”.  That is, they use a larger network of neurons to encode sounds.   (more…)